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... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer    

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NAB 2015


The 2015 NAB show had record attendance

Some comments on NAB 2015

last update 5/6/15

The broadcast industry has come together once again for the NAB Spring Show.

All in all, this is set to be the biggest show since the industry was rocked by the 9/11 attackes and the 2008 Bust/Recession. There is a lot of excitement in the air.

Even as some parts of the industry have shrunk a bit over the past decade, the NAB Show is poised for some landmarks: over 100,000 attendees from over 150 countries wandering around 1 million square feet of floor space. Nearly 250 exhibitors are new companies, and there were several that were tiny just a couple of years ago but are now major players. It is clear that video and streaming are prime interest points, as well as drones mounted with cameras.

SUNDAY

Of course, the "official" Spring Show starts with many things already in progress. The Public Radio conference has been in town for several days ... and then the Annual Nautel Users' Group on Sunday morning. NUG has been a fixture at the Riviera on Sunday morning for over 20 years. But this year's edition, will be the last, as the hotel is closing and will be imploded later this year. Like our Tuesday Lunch Gathering, Nautel is looking for a new venue.

In the meantime, the largest ever group - some 350 - attended, to be brought up-to-date on the latest goings-on at the transmitter manufacturer. 

The program included a number of upgrades Nautel is filtering through its products, tech tips, and as a look-ahead, comments on perhaps a day soon when multiple channel will come off one carrier.

 

I

In the group were some engineers who have been fixtures at the NAB for years.

 Among them, our friends Jack Sellmeyer - and Don Jones (left) of RF Specialties, who has made the trip for 50 years in a row!

Even as Nautel was touting their newest models and plans to muiltiplex audio channels on one channel, there was a new campaign to prevent Nautel from becoming a monopoly. Of course, Nautel was behind it ... with a wink!

  

MONDAY

They opened the show one hour later than usual, at 10AM. That gave many the chance to hear Jerry Lewis commenting upon receiving an award for his long career.

The FCC Chairman had a surprise. He wants to get AM moving, updating AM rules, but not through translators. Tom Wheeler unveiled his thoughts, which include making better use of the Expanded Band,  giving stations a break finding useful sites (perhaps even with some zoning pre-emptions), making some power increases easier for the local stations in the smallest markets, and foster ways for AMers to benefit more from energy-saving solutions.

On the other hand, Wheeler thinks there are already enough translators, and doesn't see the need for a special "window" for AM stations.

The floor seemed to have an interesting ebb and flow, with decent traffic, on average, right down to the close. While walking through the show floor, it was interesting to see the layout, as much of the radio floor was back in the southwest corner of the Central Hall. Today, of course, is prime sales time for the companies, so we tended to stop just long enough to wave at some of our friends, and note the new gear in view.

How about a four-rack-unit FM transmitter. How much power do you think you can get?  Would you believe 10 kW?  That is the new Elenos unit. Combined with their new display and control system, this might be a very attractive pairing for stations with limited space.  Also on the floor with a new 10 kW transmitter: Broadcast Electronics. And GatesAir brings a liquid cooled model to attain new efficiency and reliability in high power FM transmission.

 TUESDAY

As usual, Tuesday meant getting together for the Annual Lunch Gathering - this year, for the 23rd time, The room was completely full at the Westgate Buffet, and the group had a good time meeting and talking.

This year, among the highlights were appearances by Communications Attorney Cary Tepper and Technical Consultant Laura Mizrahi.
      
 

They took almost a half hour of questions asked by the group. Then, in addition to many other door prizes, an Orban Optimod PC 1101e was taken home by Gary Blievernicht, as was a Telos Z/IPStream 9X2 by (Roger Lundeen). A,mong the other goodies were IR thermometers and DM Engineering, Silence Sense and Hot Line Phone Flasher products. Comrex and the Telos Alliance provided some T-Shirts, caps, pens and other nice goodies, while Nautle's Jeff Welton was there to stir the pot with the "Save The Tubes" "Stop Nautel" button. Rumors that Chuck Kelly was chasing after Jeff with a net appear to be exaggerations.

WEDNESDAY

The technology lunch brought the recognition for Lifetime Achievement to Tom King of Kintronic Labs.


Tom King (Second from L) received his award at the Technology lunch
Here he is surrounded by some of the many who came to show respect

Now that our Lunch Gathering was over, I am able to wander a bit on the floor. My route was a bit less than a straight line. Some of the things I saw:

  • Perhaps the future of processing was shown in the Orban booth. Bob Orban (R) demonstrated his new processor, which resides completely in software and will be usable on most computers with i3 or higher multi-core processors.

    The PCn  - should also represent tremendous value  for stations.

  • A lot of the buzz over at the Telos Alliance deallt with the new Voltair processor, designed to overcome problems with the PPM recording system that have been reported by some stations. (L, Cornelius Gould)

 

  • Nautel, as usual, did a lot more than pass out self-deprecatory buttons, claiming to be a new group trying to stop Nautel from killing off tube transmitters.

    Nautel's booth was busy with folks checking out the new models and some interesting ideas on making multi-carrier, multi-channel broadcasting possible. Is Eureka back?

  • BE brought a new 10 kW transmitter (in 21 RU) to the show (L)

     

    BW Broadcast (R) had a lot of interest in their TX series, especially the TR300 V2, a combination receiver and translator.

     

  • ESE was showing their new hand-held ES-71 converter, adding to their many nice test tools to help ensure that the digital studio is properly connected and operating the way it should.

    (L, Samantha and Brian Way with the ES-71)

     

  • RDL showed off a number of new products, including a nice set of monitoring speakers (and source selectors) in a small form-factor.

    (Chuck Smith, R, with the new Decora style loudspeakers and selector panels)

  • SAS had a new set of features for their Bravo! powered consoles, including virtual sound cards and new software.

  •   PTEK may have been way in the back of the Hall, but they have a new story about changes  that will interest former and prospective customers.

    Larry Longhurst (L) was happy to meet old and new users to explain the transition.

     

  • Broadcast Depot showed off their AVRA video for radio show application.
     

  • GatesAir showed several new products. Perhaps the most talked about was the new liquid-cooled FM transmitter.  

    (Keith Adams, r, with the new GatesAir liquid-cooled transmitter)

    But there were also some nice goodies for the studio, including the VMXpress IP "translation" unit to help bring products from different manufacturers to work with your console.

  • In the automation area, Wide Orbit, Enco, and DJB Radio (was Digital Juke Box) all showed new features and enhancements.

  • Digital Alert Systems and Gorman-Redlich were busy with the EAS boxes, especially those pointed toward the Canadian NAPS, which is rolling up to full operations around that country (more info here).

  • DEVA was at the Spring Show again, showing some very desirable test and analysis gear, including the new DB3011 Confidence Monitor, part of their line of test gear affordable by every station.

  • Modulation monitors from Inovonics, Day Sequerra, and Belar all displayed upgrades to their product lines, with Inovonics offering IP software for their unit, with a number of diagnostic screens. Meanwhile Day Sequerra and Belar focused on new solutions for the HD radio crowd: a way to automatically resolve time alignment differences between the analog and digital programs. Several processor and transmitter manufacturers are already working with these units.

Some more thoughts and pictures of people and things that impressed:       

American Amplifier Technology's
Steve Hasskamp and Steve Wiide

Elenos 10 kW transmitter in 4 RU

Elenos' four-foot tall
Avatar Control and diagnostic suite 

                    
          Kelly Clark and                  Kyle Magrill was at the            Hank Landsberg (r) and Steve Gordoni
         the Comrex Access               BGS booth as usual            with the latest Henry Engineering products

               
       Jim Woods at Inovonics had           a quasi-mchanical     Geoff Mendenhall and Hal Kneller
            several new monitors                  booth person

 

FYI:
The 2013 NAB Show final attendance was  93,850.
The 2014 NAB Show final attendance was  98,015.
The 2015 NAB Show final attendance was 103,042.

 

Thanks for walking the floor with us!



 

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